Student Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE:  In Case of emergency – contact 1300 69 7829 – 1300 ‘MY STAY’, or if outside Australia call +61 2 8905 0321.

Potential Student

Q. What is Homestay?

A. Homestay is a cultural exchange between a local individual or family (called a Host) and a visiting international student. The student lives as a guest in the home. 

Q. How does it work?

A. As a student you should expect to be provided with your basic needs including your own room, food and space to study.  Over the period of your time together the host will assist you to become familiar with the local area and customs in a relaxed and friendly household setting. 

You should also share information about your home country and culture with your host. This will help you to feel comfortable and will help your host to understand you a little better. 

Q. How much do I pay?

You will pay a weekly fee for you Homestay.  This fee covers items such as:

  • use of the Australian Homestay Network services and website
  • insurance
  • emergency telephone support
  • food
  • accommodation
This weekly fee may vary depending on your level of service (how many meals your host provides you with for example) and which State of Australia you are living in.  The weekly fee ranges from $250 to $310 per week.

Q. How close will I live to my education provider?

A. A thirty minute to one hour journey in most cases but this will depend on the area close to where you will study.  You may need to take more than one bus or a combination of bus and train, but this will all be explained to you by your host. 

Q. How do I apply?

Click the “join as a Student” button on the Australian Homestay Network Homepage.  Once you complete the application form an email will be sent to your email address.  You must receive the email and click an activation link to verify your email address and activate your account.  You can then log in to your account whenever you wish by clicking the “Students” link in the top menu.  Make sure you remember your password to access your account

Q. What does the application process involve?

Once logged in, new student members can take their time to create their profile, explore the members’ area and read through the orientation information.  Your supervisor will be assigned based on your Education Provider, and they will be in charge of finding you a homestay placement.  You will usually need to pay a placement fee before receiving notification of your placement, and you may also need to pay for your initial homestay period in advance before leaving your home country.  You can contact your supervisor from your AHN homepage if you have any questions.  

Q. What are my responsibilities?

A.  You should understand and agree to house rules and be polite to your host at all times.   You can expect the same in return.

Q. How long do I have to stay with my host?

A. This is up to you in discussion with your supervisor.  Most initial placements are for four (4) weeks unless you request longer, except in the case of younger students who may stay for a school year.

Q. What support do I get from AHN?

A. As a student member of the Australian Homestay Network, you have access to: 

  • a supervisor during business hours
  • a 24/7 assistance telephone line for emergencies that may happen after hours and at weekends.


Actual Student

Q. What do I call my Host?

A. Ask your host what they prefer you to call them.  This may be by their given name or  they may suggest ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’.

Q. What do I do with my dirty laundry?  Where do I keep them until they are washed?

A. Ask your host how to use the washing machine and where to dry your clothes.  Ask where the laundry basket is if there is not one in your room. If you are unsure ask again until you understand.

Q. I do not know how to iron my clothes.  What should I do?

A. Ask your host to show you where the iron is kept and how to use it.

Q. Can I have a bath?

A. Ask your host how much water you may use and when it is convenient to take a bath.

Q. I asked if I could help with the washing up after dinner but my host said I did not  have to.  Is there anything else I could do?

A. You could offer to take out the rubbish or offer to prepare the table before the meal.

Q. My host has two students staying in the home and we got into trouble because the  bathroom was messy.  It was not me but I felt uncomfortable blaming  the other  student.  What should I do?

A. Ask your Host if you can speak to them and tell them your story.  You will find that they will accept your explanation and speak with the other Student personally.

Q. My host said I should ‘help myself’.  What does it mean?

A. It means that you may take a biscuit or an apple from the fruit bowl without asking.  But be careful not to take treats or special food without asking.

Q. What does ‘meal time’ mean?

A. Meal time refers to the time meals will be served or are ready for you to eat.

Q. Can I put pictures and posters on the wall in my bedroom?

A. Ask for approval from your host and ask them how to do it without leaving holes or marks on the wall after you leave.

Q. I heard it is my host mother’s birthday, what should I do?

A. First thing in the morning it is polite to wish her ‘happy birthday’.  If you would like to  you can purchase a birthday card, or make one, or buy a small gift but this is not a requirement.

Q. Can I go in to every room in my host’s home?  Are some rooms private?

A. Some areas are private.  You should not enter any other bedroom without being invited.

Q. Where can I put my luggage?

A. You can ask to store it in the garage but it is useful to keep in your wardrobe or closet to store your valuable items and any presents you buy to take back to your home country.

Q. How long can I stay on the internet?

A. Talk with your host about internet usage.  This applies to telephones too.

Q. What should I do in my Homestay home?

A. You can make your bed, keep your room tidy and leave the bathroom clean and tidy every time you use it.

Q. Can I bring alcohol to my Homestay home?

A. It is best to ask permission first.  Remember you cannot drink alcohol if you are under 18.

Q. My hosts go to bed early and I like to spend time on the telephone to my friends. 

A. It is polite not to receive telephone calls after 9pm.

Q. In my country I go to sleep when I get home from school and stay up in to the night.   My host wants me to go to bed when they go to bed and it is too early for me.

A. Most international Homestay students have this problem.  It is best to be as quiet as  possible even though you may not be in bed.  Australians go to bed early and get up early  – as a general rule.  This does not apply to everyone.  Most hosts of young students set curfews because if students stay up late on school nights it is very difficult to get up to go to school on time and stay awake in class all day.

Q. Do I have to ask if I want to go out?

A. It is polite to say you are going out and what time you will be back.  Telephone your host if you are going to be later than you said.  Then they will not worry about you.   If you are under 18, you must have permission and give your host your telephone number so they can contact you at any time.

Q. Can I invite my friends around after school?

A. You must have approval to invite friends in to your host’s home.

Q. Can I invite my friends around during the day if I am studying at night?

A. You must have permission to invite friends in to your hosts’ home at any time.

Q. My host has not given me a key to the house because of the security system.

A. You must be allowed to access to your homestay home.  Please contact your homestay supervisor if your host has not provided you with a key or shown you how to enter the house when they are not home. 

Q. Is the home kept locked at all times? If not, when should the door be locked?

A. If you are concerned about your security, speak to your host and ask them to explain their security plan to you.  You must keep this information to yourself.  

Q. If a stranger comes to the door and I am alone at home should I open the door?

A. No, go to the nearest window and see who it is.  Do not let them in to the home under any circumstances.

Q. If I lose my key what should I do?

A. Tell your host immediately.